Venezuela's Petrocaribe aims to help the Caribbean cope with rising oil prices. But with payments deferrable for 25 years, someone's going to be left holding the bag.
Relief for small island economies dependent on increasingly
expensive oil imports has arrived in the form of Venezuelan
president Hugo Chávez. He has created Petrocaribe, an
association that incorporates the 14 member states of the
Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom), as the first
step in achieving Simon Bolívar's dream of uniting Latin
America and Chávez's own dream of expanding his
political reach across the region. "We have the biggest oil
reserves in the world and the biggest gas reserves in the
continent and we want to share them," says Chávez, with
customary exaggeration. He is pursuing a similar agreement with
the rest of South America, called Petrosur. The Caribbean
countries signed up to participate in the Petrocaribe venture
in late June. Regardless of Chávez's political motives,
his initiative could have a profound effect on many of the
region's smallest economies. Cuba has been benefiting from
cheap Venezuelan oil financing...
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